POPE: ND’s Brian Kelly wants ‘tough gentlemen’ on his team
November 26, 2013 11:14PM
Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza is 12-of-13 in game-winning, game-tying, overtime or fourth-quarter lead-extending field goals in his career. His only miss came in the fourth quarter against Temple on Aug. 31. He made a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter Saturday against BYU.
The Extra Point
Center Nick Martin has an MCL tear, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. In addition to missing the regular-season finale and the bowl game, Martin will miss spring camp. Martin suffered the injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s win against BYU.
Updated: December 28, 2013 6:39AM
SOUTH BEND — Brian Kelly noticed something hours before Notre Dame’s game against BYU.
“Never was the weather a factor or a consideration,” the Notre Dame coach said during his Tuesday news conference. “When we walked out of the hotel — the cozy, warm confines of the hotel — it was cold and it was windy. And I didn’t hear anybody talk about the weather. At no time did I hear anybody talk about ‘well, it’s cold out today.’ They were focused. There was a single-minded focus on playing that game.
“… That’s the way we’ve got to play this game of football.”
That type of approach will be crucial going against No. 8 Stanford.
“Coming off the BYU game, I think it’s a great challenge for our football team to continue to play a physical brand of football,” Kelly said. “And we’ll need to do that against Stanford.”
Kelly wants his team filled with “tough gentlemen.”
“I want tough guys on the field, gentlemen off the field. We’re really trying to build that on a day-to-day basis,” Kelly said. “At Notre Dame, we want our guys to be Notre Dame student-athletes. We want them engaged in everything that’s about Notre Dame. We don’t want them to be marginalized as just football players. We want them to be engaged in our entire community. We want (wide receiver) Corey Robinson to be the multi-dimensional person that he is and (cornerback) KeiVarae Russell to be the lead in the play, but when it’s time to play, we want tough guys. We were able to really make that transition the way we’ve been trying to get our players to make that transition.”
At times, Kelly said that mind-set has been lacking.
“We don’t play the game the way we need to play it each and every week,” he said. “Everybody. Every single player. And we’re getting there. And our guys are understanding it. And they’re seeing it. And now that I’m really able to show them, they are looking at it and saying ‘we get it coach.’ That’s a positive thing they were able to take from the BYU game.”
He points to the loss at Pittsburgh as the opposite of what he wants the group to get accomplished.
“(The Pittsburgh game was) an anomaly in the sense (of) that’s just not how we play. We don’t play that game that way,” Kelly said. “Our football team has shown over the last three, four years, we don’t play that way. And so for me, that was an anomaly. That’s why it was so important to get back this weekend to playing the game the right way and they certainly did.”
Kelly doesn’t think setting that toughness tone has been any harder at Notre Dame than at his other stops.
“I wouldn’t say it’s harder. But I think it’s a point of emphasis in that our players have a lot of skill sets that they are incredibly talented in so many areas that they do bring a lot of those to the forefront,” Kelly said. “So sometimes we just have to get them focused on this football job, this piece of it. There’s so many other things going on, and they are so involved in a number of different things.
“I’ll use a (former defensive lineman) Kapron Lewis Moore example. A lot of you know Kap in terms of being probably one of our biggest cheerleaders for other sports, as well. His senior year was incredible. And his ability to focus strictly on football and just turn the switch on and focus on football and dominate on football and do so many other things. That’s what we’re looking for.”
It’s all about finding the right balance.
“We are working hard on getting some of our younger guys — and some of our older guys have seen that, too. That’s the challenge at Notre Dame because we have guys that want to be involved in so many things and that’s a great distinction that we have,” Kelly said. “I’d rather have that distinction here at Notre Dame than have guys that are just football players. I think that’s a great distinction that Notre Dame has and we just want to build off of that and keep making sure that we work on that every day.”